Chris Gilmer, a first-generation college graduate who became a leader in higher education, published author and advocate for underserved students, will transition from interim to campus president of West Virginia University Potomac State College.
Gilmer, who was appointed to lead the WVU Keyser Campus in an interim capacity in April 2022, will begin his new tenure immediately.
“From the moment he arrived, Chris prioritized making connections with students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “His inclusive approach and dedication to our core mission, helping students learn and succeed, make Chris the right fit at the right time as we continue to expand opportunities at WVU Potomac State College.”
In addition to his position as campus president, Gilmer will continue as a tenured professor in the Division of Liberal Arts at PSC, a role he began when he arrived in Keyser last spring.
“It is with great humility and a sense of gratitude and collaboration that I embark on this new journey. It took me about one minute to fall in love with this place and its people, and to see both the outstanding accomplishments of the past and present and the wondrous promise of the future,” Gilmer said. “I thank President Gee, Provost Maryanne Reed and Vice Provost Paul Kreider for believing in me. I assure you that no one will work harder or with more joy than I will work with and for this college and the WVU System.”
Previously, Gilmer served as president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, an independently accredited community and technical college with its own board of governors and degree-granting authority separate from West Virginia University, although it does maintain an affiliation with WVU.
Most of Gilmer’s career, however, was spent as an administrator and faculty member in the historically Black colleges and universities system as executive director of the Vicksburg, Mississippi campus of Alcorn State University. He also served as vice president for academic affairs at Adams State University, the oldest federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution in Colorado. Gilmer is founder of the National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students.
He was also chair of a network of technical assistance centers for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving all 50 states and other U.S. jurisdictions, and has consulted with the U.S. Department of Education’s regional educational labs and comprehensive technical assistance centers.
“In less than a year, Dr. Gilmer has shown significant commitment to our Keyser campus’ academic programs, faculty and students,” Reed said. “We have full faith in his ability to lead Potomac State College into the future through his service leadership and deep understanding of underserved populations.”
Gilmer’s degrees are in English, including a doctoral degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.
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